Celebrate Earth Day by making something from recycled junk. A few empty glass jars become pretty office organizers. These painted jam jar pen and pencil holders are easy to DiY with a few basic craft supplies.
When you finish that jam, jelly, or sauce don’t throw out the empty jar. Once you remove the label, that container can be repurposed to organize your office supplies.
For some reason, I have a thousand pens – except when I actually need one. I was very much in need of a way to organize all the writing supplies in my small office space.
Not only are these jars a practical way to sort pens, pencils, and markers, they make for decorative storage that can be labeled. That is, if I could find the chalk to write on them.
You can make these using any kind of jars in less than an hour. Most of that time is letting the paint dry.
How to make painted jam jar pen and pencil holders
- newspaper or drop cloth
- parchment paper
- assorted empty glass jars, labels removed
- spray paint, any color
- chalkboard spray paint
- Avery multi-use labels, 1.5×3 inch size
Start by removing the labels and lids and washing the jars really well. They need to be clean and dry so the paint will stick well.
Lay out the newspaper or drop cloth to protect your work surface. Spray paint gets everywhere. Cut small squares of parchment paper to prevent the glass from sticking to the drop cloth.
Shake your colored spray paint very well. I used a blue-gray. Turn the glass jars upside down and spray them carefully. You want to cover as much as possible in a single coat without the paint dripping or running.
It was pretty hard to get around the handles, so I ended up doing a second coat.
Let the paint dry thoroughly, following the recommended time on the spray paint you are using. Flip the jars over and spray them down again to cover any spots you might have missed, especially along the top rim.
Let that dry again.
Meanwhile, lay out a sheet of the Avery labels. Shake the chalkboard spray paint thoroughly and spray the labels. Cover them thoroughly, but avoid any excess that might pool. Let those dry completely too.
When you are sure everything is completely dry – overnight if necessary – peel off the chalkboard labels and stick them on the jars. Sort your office supplies into each jar.
You could use a piece of chalk to label each jar with pens, pencils, etc. They also look pretty cute without writing on the labels. My chalk is nowhere to be found, so I guess I need to make a painted jam jar for that!
I just made these three to organize my writing stuff. You could use all different shapes and sizes of jars for other supplies too. A short, fat jar could hold rubber bands and paper clips. I’ve even used smaller, baby-food-sized jars to sort business cards.
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